Dating is hard. That’s not a very original thought, as everyone who has ever dated, is dating, or is talking themselves up to get out there and find the person of their dreams (or even just wants to share a drink with a cute stranger) has probably thought it once or twice or a million times.
But are you making it harder than it has to be? Sure, there’s a lot of effort that goes into the act of going on dates, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a complete uphill battle. Whether or not you realize it, you might be offering little cues to either your significant other or a potential special someone that either causes strife, drives them away, or cements your status as being #foreveralone. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if you’re looking to change that label, being aware of your habits always helps.
You never actually go on dates.
Be honest with yourself here. It’s so easy to say that you’re putting yourself out there and swipe to your heart’s figurative content on dating apps, strike up a little witty banter with some cute strangers and then…. never meet them. Instead of squirreling out of grabbing a coffee, actually take that scary leap and put yourself out there! (They’re taking the same risk, so it’s not like you’re alone.)
If you really hate the idea of online dating, make sure you have some nights out with your friends in which you play wingman for each other — but the point is for you to actually be proactive about your dating life. There’s no benefit to complaining about being single if you do nothing about it. And even if you’re shy and nervous about meeting new people, the only way to get more comfortable with the action is to practice. First dates never get easier, but hopefully you’ll stop going on as many first dates and find the person with whom a second date turns into a 15th. But you’ll never find them unless you go on that first date to begin with.
You’re a social-stalker.
If you feel the need to check in on your significant other’s online presence, ask yourself why that is. Is it because you don’t think they’ll tell you what’s going on in their life? Is it because you suspect they’re deliberately keeping something from you? Whether it’s a simple communication issue or a nagging suspicion of something larger, that should serve as a major red flag to you. Ask yourself why that is, and slowly, learn to trust and stop checking their tagged Instagram photos and faved tweets. If you can’t, maybe that’s a sign that your relationship needs more than just a change of password.
Whether it was invented by pickup artists who believe in complisulting their desired target, or little kids who don’t know how to express their feelings and instead push their crush over in the sandbox, negging — or lightly insulting — your intended is a common occurrence that often gets confused for witty banter. There’s a difference, however, between a light conversation and an out-and-out insult, and it’s often hard to tell the two apart until you unfortunately cross that line. Try, instead, being genuine and nice to people. Sure, it’s rare in an age where sarcasm rules, but if someone can’t appreciate or handle your heartfelt affection for them, maybe they aren’t the right person for you. After all, a relationship is built by two people who make the other feel good about themselves. Lay that framework now instead of relying on weak jabs that make you look more insensitive than soulmate.
You swear that you don’t have a type — even though you actually do.
The concept of a type is bound to be everyone’s undoing. And even if you swear that you “don’t have a type,” deep down, you’re probably one or more of the same type of people, or places, or circumstances. Honestly ask yourself if you can see a trend in your exes — be it their hair color, their job, or even their habit of brushing you aside to things that were more important to them. There’s usually a common thread, and sometimes you need to actively work to break those ranks.
A type isn’t always wrapped up in hair color or height or nationality or whether or not they want kids. A type can be as simple as the way you enable them to treat you, over and over again. And while no one is going to be a Disney-perfect ideal, even holding them up to the standard you grew used to in your last relationship isn’t fair to them — or to you. Try sparking a connection with someone who breaks every notion of what you thought you knew or wanted in someone else, and even in yourself. See how that changes your concept of what a relationship is, and what you deserve in one.
Your idea of what you want for yourself is getting in the way.
This one, by all means, is not a bad thing. It’s good to have dreams and goals, and the drive to work toward those things. But sometimes we can let these goals serve as crutches and roadblocks in other areas of our lives. You don’t need to postpone dating until you lose another 20 pounds — someone will love you anyway. You don’t need to become smarter or more well-red or cooler or know more obscure music or travel the world.
The world will always be there to be traveled, and you can travel with someone you’re getting to know and even love. Sometimes your life really isn’t in a solid enough place to be dating anyone, but most of the time, that winds up being an excuse. If love comes along, don’t make it wait for you just because you didn’t think you’d be where you wanted to be before it happened. Life will happen regardless. Let love happen along with it.